I was reminded, thanks to TimeHop, that I was in Italy four years ago this week. Sigh. What I’d give to be right back there right now.
I remember hearing that it “wasn’t the best time to go to Italy.” Well, I’ve also been there in March, and I’d say December, in fact, is the best time to go to Italy. So there. Italy goes BIG on Christmastime, and being there to see the beautiful lights and Christmas decorations was AMAZING to me.
My mom made the entire itinerary, and what an amazing trip she came up with. We visited Florence and Rome.
We started off in Florence and visited the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and the museum where David is nakie. I remember being excited to try Florence’s hot chocolate, which is much thicker than ours. One of the days, we ventured into Tuscany, about an hour away up a mountain, to a wine tour and tasting in Chianti. The region is beautiful, with rows of grapes for miles and miles. I thought it was so neat to think that those grapes would soon be made into wine and sent all around the world.
On the way back to Florence, we stopped by this tiny little town in the Chianti region, called Greve (pronounced ‘Gravy’). The day was just winding down, and the sun was beginning to set. We made it there just as they were starting the town’s Christmas tree lighting in the center of town. We got to see families celebrating with their children, and it was such a nice moment. There were little shops throughout the town and a cafe that we explored before heading back into Florence.
We visited a restaurant in Florence, La cucina del Garga, which was delicious and for some reason, they kept all the liquor bottles we were drinking on OUR table. Someone else would ask for a drink, they’d take it from our table to pour them a drink, then give it back to us. Fine with us. I think we finished the whole bottle of grappa.
Another memorable thing we did was a cooking class, by Florence Cooking Classes. We started off going to a local marketplace, where we got to sample many different foods, and picked out all of the food we would need. We made pasta (of course), ravioli, and tiramisu. The pasta we made was one of the best meals I had in all of Italy. SO good. They even sent us home with the recipe, which I tried to replicate last year.
The next stop was Rome. I have heard people say that Rome isn’t their favorite, and that it’s a dirty city. I object. I love Rome for all that it is – and it’s a lot. Between the old, narrow cobblestone streets – the FOOD and shopping – the history – the people, I love it all. While in Rome, we did all of the usual – the Spanish Steps (where I got my first pair of Jimmy Choos), the Colosseum, made a wish in the Trevi Fountain, and even got a private tour of the Vatican!
Sometimes when I’m having a REALLY GOOD moment, I’ll mentally store it in a special place. I’ll tell myself that whenever I’m unhappy, go back to that moment. I’ve only done it for a few special times, but I’m good to my word in going back to my happy moments when I’m feeling distressed. I had one of these moments in Rome, and I believe it is my favorite moment of all my happy moments. Here it is:
Surrounded by the people I love most, my Mom, Dad, and my brother, Matt, we were in Rome, sitting in a room filled with people having their own conversations. We had wine and dark chocolate, which we learned pairs well. A man was playing the piano. And in that moment, life was absolutely perfect.